Resume Writing Tips for Engineering & Technical Resumes
  1. List your technical knowledge first, in an organized way. Your technical strengths must stand out clearly at the beginning of your resume.

    Ultimately, your resume is going to be read by a hiring manager (well, maybe, read on), but before it gets to that point it often has to be logged in by a HR clerk, and make its way past various key word searches (that is, when you choose to represent yourself). Therefore, you should use as many relevant buzzwords as you can — which accurately reflects your experience.

    If you're a software engineer, list all operating systems you use. Tie in programming languages and platforms with which you're experienced. List all software tools used. Make it obvious at first glance where your strengths are concentrated - so the non-technical clerk scanning for matches against the manager's requirement can make the connection.

    This clerk may also generate the "Thanks, but no thanks" letter, and be empowered to make the decision that the hiring manager will never see your resume (a well connected technical recruiter will bypass this "gatekeeper", and go directly to the hiring manager with it).

  2. List your qualifications in order of relevance. List your degree(s), other educational qualifications and professional training at the top of your resume. May companies stop reviewing it when they don't immediately see a degree. Never put it at the end.

    Make sure your education and professional training is the first thing they read, underneath your name.

  3. Quantify your experience wherever possible. Use numbers for budgets, time periods, percent of efficiency improved against a metric, lines of code written, number of months to deliver, years of experience — which demonstrates progress or accomplishments in units readers understand and process quickly. Don't make them figure it out (they won't).

  4. Begin sentences with action verbs. Portray yourself as someone who is active, uses their brain, and accomplishes tasks quickly.

    "Designed, developed, implemented and tested" instead of "As a member of technical staff, participated on a team that..." or "Responsible for". The reviewer wants to know what you actually did. Was your participation on the team to keep them supplied with coffee? Talk about your personal accomplishments and direct contributions. They are looking for specificity, a measure of your effectiveness.

  5. Don't sell yourself short. This is the biggest mistake of all resumes, technical and otherwise. You believe your experiences are worthy for review by hiring managers. Treat your resume as a company sales brochure. Be sure to thoroughly "sell" yourself by highlighting all of your strengths and attributes (benefits and features).

    If you have a valuable or germane skill which doesn't seem to fit into your resume, list it anyway (as its own segment).

  6. Be concise. As a rule of thumb, resumes reflecting four years or less experience should fit on one page.

    However, more extensive experience justifies a second page. At least two pages with >5 years, to a max of three pages with >15 years or experience. Avoid lengthy explanations about projects where you were only one of many participants. Consolidate action verbs where one task or responsibility encompasses other tasks and duties.

    Minimize use of articles (the, an, a) and never, never use "I" or other pronouns to identify yourself.

    WARNING: The worst resume is the narrative style... "Mr. Jones is recognized as the world's greatest DSP Engineer, and his expertise spans the world's collective knowledge of DSP. Mr. Jones conceived the ASIC prior to receiving the Nobel..." Very annoying to read. High dose of ego and usually grossly embellished. Trust us, everybody knows you wrote it — it's not a biography, its a resume.

  7. Omit superfluous items.

    Leave all these things off your resume: social security number, marital status, health assessment, age, irrelevant awards, nonrelated associations and memberships (church, kid's soccer team coach, country club), references, political identity, travel history, hobbies, children's names and ages, salary history and professors in graduate school (that no one knows... because they're not famous).

    Do not include: lifestyle preference, religion or a photograph. Also, leave off every job since high school. Working at the supermarket didn't contribute to your engineering experience. Coop engineering blocks only if you have less than three years of experience.

    If the resume is lacking dates, it is immediately suspect. Trying to hide age by neglecting to show the degree graduation year doesn't work (they will ask, or assume you just didn't graduate). Likewise, not using dates at all to hide employment gaps is a red flag. Companies and recruiters know the drill. In fact, resumes without dates usually get trashed without consideration.

    Don't pepper your resume with proprietary codewords, abbreviations and acronyms. No one outside your company will understand them. Use generic terms to describe the "XB-2764-J Rev 2". Instead, call it a handheld software defined radio that covers 2 MHz to 30 GHz. You get the idea. After the third dose of gibberish, people stop trying to figure it out. They are on to a resume they can understand.

    Do include all education and company sponsored professional training, a active or recently expired Secret or Top Secret security clearance, citizenship (optional), licensure (P.E. with state license number) or certification, your contributions to industry recognized committees or groups and your GPA (optional, only if it was 3.00 or above, and you have less than 5 years of experience).

  8. Have a friend review your resume. Pick someone who is attentive to details, can effectively critique your writing, and will give an objective opinion. Take their advice. Get a second opinion if you can.

  9. Proofread, and then proofread again. Spell check it, look for grammatical weaknesses, unusual punctuation, and inconsistent capitalizations. Proofread it at least two days from when you wrote it - to catch any hidden mistakes or inconsistencies your brain wasn't processing.

  10. The vast majority of resumes today are transmitted electronically, however if you need a hard copy, print it on plain white paper, using a laser printer.

    Don't waste your money on special heavy linen watermarked bond paper in "goldenrod" or "soft lilac" — or any color deviances away from plain white. Your resume will be photocopied (or scanned) many times, defeating any special paper effects.

    As most hiring managers will tell you... the ones on the special heavy bond usually contain the history of a candidate with limited skills and experience. He or she thinks their lack of skills will be enhanced by better paper! Seriously, that wasn't intended as humor. And they usually arrive in 10x12 envelopes unfolded.

    Also, avoid resume writing services... they are OK for secretaries and museum curators, but it has been our experience that most will do more harm to a technical resume than good. Most resume services are convinced you should summarize your career to one page. You're a engineer or technical manager with extensive skills, abilities and specialized experience on several complex projects... not a convenience store clerk. Do it yourself. Additionally, many will tell you that resumes on brightly colored paper will set you apart from the crowd. It doesn't, and it's difficult to read. Skills and abilities are the only thing that will set you apart from the competition.

    Hiring managers want to see compelling and relevant experience — nothing more. A resume is in writing, and you don’t get to explain anything. Talk to and pursuade your target audience.

    A knowledgeable recruiter can provide constructive information about the content (what is missing or needs to be tweaked)... and suggest powerful modifications that will
    leverage your skills effectively. He or she knows what a hiring manager is looking for, and by putting your experience in perspective, can open doors that are otherwise closed to you.

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Engineering Jobs Keywords for

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING

HARDWARE ENGINEERING

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

RF ENGINEERING

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Keywords from active jobs where the phrase appears on >10 separate requirements.


SOFTWARE ENGINEERING JOBS: Open systems, UNIX, AIX, Linux, Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows NT, APIs, real-time embedded software, embedded diagnostic software, device drivers, DLLs, software packaging and deployment, definition, requirements analysis and integration, middleware, firmware, DOS, RTOS, pSOS, VRTX, VxWorks, Novell, Win32, CORBA, OOA, OOD, OOP, DII COE, RISC, CISC, Oracle, SQL, UNIX Shell scripting, real-time, software analysis, architecture, OMT, CASE Tools (Rational Rose or Cayenne Object Team), Object-to-Relation concepts, modeling methodologies and tools, client/server architecture, Simulation Based Design (SBD), CGI and web-based development, multithreaded applications, rapid software prototyping, Object Modeling Technique (OMT/Rumbaugh), Object Class Libraries, Object Frameworks, shrink wrap software, IM, video, fault tolerant, Knowledge Based Systems (KBS), rapid application development, encryption, decryption, packet switched, software analysis, SourceForge, data and network security, defense, simulation, graphics, SEI/CMM Level 4 or 5 Software Processes, Clearquest, Client Server Applications, intelligence, Unicode compliance, multilingual search, normalization, electronic warfare, C4ISR, C4I, SQL Server, MAPI, SOAP, IPCs, ATL, ASP, VBScript, JavaScript, XML, ADO Sockets, I/O, TCP/IP, UDP/IP, .NET Windows, ATL, ASP, VBScript, relational databases, OOP client/server environment, PowerBuilder, WSDL, ASP .Net, Signal Processing, Microsoft Speech Application SDK, SALT, ADO.NET, JScript, C#, XML/XSLT, streaming codecs, Rtsp, multicast, Unicast, DVB, Routers, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11a, wireless, Linux Kernel, Rational CASE tool suite, UML, Mercury QuickTest, WinRunner, TestDirector, OOP, automated test scripts, VS.Net, WebSphere IDEs, ClearCase, InfoSec and computer forensics, ClearQuest, Robot. J2EE, SDLC guideline, distributed client-server architectures, radar, IPSec, TLS/SSL, SSH, PGP, network virtualization, MIL-STD 498, ColdFusion MX, VCODEX/Vcdiff, dgwin, SourceSafe, JBuilder, UI/HCI, monolithic kernel, scalable web-based systems, XML Schema, SNMP, CLI/SSH. TCL/EXPECT, HTTPS, NDIS, LDAP, DirectX 8/9, OpenGL. W3C, Apache, IIS, ARM processors, Cryptography, real-time digital signal processing software, MRCP protocols, N-Tiered architectures, Artificial Intelligence, FDA QSR, multithreaded applications, automation algorithms, surface surveillance software, software defined radio, JTRS Cluster 5

SOFTWARE LANGUAGES: C, C++, XML, UML, Ada, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Visual C++, Assembly 80x86, 680x0, JAVA, JavaScript, php, J2EE, JSP, Servlets, JavaBeans, AWT, Swing, JDBC, Ada, Assembler, PLM, C++ with MFC, Ada/VHDL, 80386 Assembly, SQL, PL/SQL, Transact-SQL, VC++ (6.0), MFC, DHTML, Perl, C++/STL, S-Plus, IA-32 assembler, Java/J2EE, ActiveX, Metrowerks, C/Java/Perl/VB, JDBC, EJB entity beans, embedded SQL, UNICODE, QNX, Matlab, SML, Ptolemy, visualSTATE/ST, embedded software JVMs, C programming using pSOS or VxWorks

ELECTRICAL & HARDWARE ENGINEERING JOBS: DSP, electromagnetic, IC hardware, Motorola HC08, Microchip PIC, Intel 8051, Centrino, acoustic, RF signal analysis, IR signal analysis, BlueTooth, display systems, avionics, MIL-STD-1553B data bus, space surveillance, enhanced Single Board Computer (eSBC), HOL (Ada/C), Command, Telemetry & Control Unit (CTCU), set-top boxes, robotics, FPGA, ASIC, radar/lidar signal processing, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), packaging, charge-coupled devices (CCD), EDACS, active-pixel sensors, A/D, analog/digital converters, digital, RF transceivers, signal-processing ASICs, power ASIC, microelectromechanical (MEMs), multi-modal coupling, spatial temporal filtering, noise and clutter modeling, RF deterministic modeling, stochastic analysis, payload, HW/SW partitioning, optical data communication, digital servo system design, EO/IR, tactical reconnaissance, digital video, HDTV, printers, imaging systems, electronic warfare, power supplies, MILSATCOM, analog, computer security, secure interoperability, Embedded Systems Software Development, Motorola 68K/683XX, MPC8XX and PPCXXX, PLD, CPLD, routers, switches, C3I, C4I, C4ISR, WBS, CAIV, EVMS, IMP/IMS, RAID, ATM, HiPPI, WAN, FibreChannel, Gigabit Ethernet, VHDL, VLSI, optical encoders, X-Band Radar, Tempest, AISR, cryptographic modules, FPGA, PLD, VHDL, embedded programming, avionics, algorithms, pulse Doppler Radar, FFT processing, SCSI device programming, clutter range fold-over, factors limiting clutter cancellation, target velocity, range ambiguities, CFAR detection, Countermeasures, survivable network enabled military communications payload, CPLDs, threat mission environments, SSGN, Fire Control, tactical computer interfaces, space and intelligence systems, robotic/UGV, modeling algorithms, JDEP, seeker and sensor, tactical unmanned, image processing, sensor fusion, launch and space systems, IMINT, SIGINT, OSINT, defense, I-Base, MDITDS, AMHS, RCS testing and analysis, switch-mode power electronics, fixed point and mobile wireless data applications, flow transmitters and sensors, high rate laser communications, attack/intrusion detection software, deep-submicron digital and mixed-signal SOI-CMOS, three-dimensionally stacked circuits, SERDES, digital or analog CMOS electrical circuits, full-custom mixed-signal standard cell digital or microwave, CMOS active pixel sensors, pin photodiode arrays, avalanche photodiode arrays, ultra low-power 180-nm fully depleted SOI CMOS circuits, low-noise broad-band focal planes, laser radar, optical remote sensing, DSP algorithms, DC/DC converters, PLDs, power control electronics, board-level electronic design, embedded microcontroller applications, LCD, high speed digital design or RF design, power supply design, communication bus interfaces, electromagnetic compatibility, FPGA development experience (VHDL, Altera or Xilinx), RF and digital design, integration and test, mechanical design for electronic and thermal packaging, control and distribution equipment for 50Hz, 60Hz, 400Hz and DC systems, power control electronics, DC/DC switchmode design, software defined radio, JTRS Cluster 5, TELINT, MASINT, IMINT

RF ENGINEERING JOBS: microwave and milimeter wave, 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz, hybrid Satcom terrestrial networks, film bulk acoustic resonators (FBAR), active/passive RF electronics, analyze RF modulation circuits, antenna engineer with apertures and radiators, VLF, Lower L Band, HF, high frequency, VHF, UHF, SHF, EHF, X band, advanced modulation/demod techniques, QAM, QPSK, FSK, DOCSIS, transceiver, MEMS-based RF switches, MMWave, RF SETA, ADS, AWR, SONET, satcom, GPS, TMS, TDMA, LNA, PLL, SA Radar, circuit design/simulation, antenna pattern design measurement, 2 GHz/5 GHz, RFIC, RF IC, system design & development, film bulk acoustic resonators (FBAR), RF MEMS, A/D converters, high-density digital/high-performance RF boards, microwave circuit interconnects, RF packaging, synthesizers, antenna, antenna steering, antenna arrays, IC Antenna Modules, Adaptive Blind Signal Processing, WCDMA, CDMA, 3G, 3.5G, direct sequence spread spectrum, COMINT, RF simulation and modeling, algorithmic frequency hopping, low power spectral density, GSM, DCS 1800, low orbit satellite, UMTS, multi-band MMIC, SDR, software defined radios, RF software, RF firmware, spectrally efficient RF systems, propogation analysis, anti jam, narrowband, SIGINT, wireless, 802.11g, 802.11a, 802.11 a/b, 802.11b, 802.11e, 802.11n, mixed signal, RF encrypted networks, Wi-Fi 802.11abg, EMC/EMI, access points, RFIC, cordless, SE/SI implementation, RF printed circuit layout, DSS, error control coding/simulating algorithms and link modeling, certified module embedder (CME), RF Transmission Systems, numerically controlled oscillators, electromagnetic characterization, waveguides, combiners, remote sensing, scramblers, descramblers, signal transmission equipment, microwave components, subsystems, microwave relay equipment, ferrite microwave components, microwave components, satellite communications equipment, comsat components, satellite delay compensation, satellite launch and guidance systems, CMIP/CMIS, TMN, telemetry tracking, troposcatter, iDEN, RF capacity planning, satellite transmission, digital HR radio/avionics, develops RF system architecture, RF design and GSM optimization, earth stations, space stations, receiver module redesign, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), repeaters, base stations, C3I, C4I, C4ISR, radar, aviation, Multi-Beam Antennas, RF amplifiers, RF multi-frequency feed assemblies, TCM studies, COTM, microwave RF circuits, SATCOM, synthesizers, modulators, receiver front ends, attenuators, up/down-converters, filters, MIC subsystems, RF traffic management and spectrum analysis, ILS/IFF, RF Spectrum Analysis, RF subsystems, antenna sub-system to RF front end, RF emitter, RF power amplifier topologies Class E, Class D, DFx, RF active device circuit design, discrete RF power amplifiers, RF MEMS devices, RF/Analog assemblies, wireless encrypted networking, anti-jamming communications, SINCGARS, lumped-element filters, TDRSS interface definition, RF subsystems - receiver, transmitter and synthesizer chains, EDACS, intermodulation studies, high density digital high-performance RF packaging, radar systems operating at S-band, C-band or X-band, integrated broadband RF Systems on a chip, RF GSM optimization, GPRS, EDGE, 3G technologies, microwave circuit design, 3D electromagnetic design, microwave stripline circuits, RF design/analysis, RF T&M equipment, RF vector modulators, frequency conversion architectures, high dynamic range RF amplifiers, DSP algorithms, satellite TV, broadband access systems, RF test, debug and IC verification, non-linearities and spurious performance, low noise oscillator design, resonator driven oscillators, ADS RF design tools, parasitic extraction, Wireless Design Suite, dBPlanner, Planet, Bluetooth, GSM/GPRS Network, TANO KPI tools, Wizard, SETRAM XP GSM, Schema AFP (Automatic Frequency Planning), Voice over IP packet through GPRS, RF optimization, OSS and BSS platforms, HALT, HASS and Life testing, over-the-air interface protocols, antenna interference, Eagleware design software, digital RF processing, NEXCOM, static DC offset, filter response, compression, third order intermodulation, power amplifier topologies (Class E, Class D), DFx, FMEA, Microwave Office, HPM analytical and test research, RF/microwave and millimeter-wave designs, Quad Band GSM/GPRS, L band, S band, ISM band, IRIG, pHEMT, iHBT, diplexers, GaAs MMIC, wideband LNA, MOCVD epitaxial wafer, dual, tri or quad-band GSM & DCS/PCS handsets, TO-8, connectorized, surface mount packages, telemetry, voltage variable attenuators, GaAs MMIC, 2G/2.5G, WLAN and CATV, VSAT, MMIC MESFET RF and control chips, circulators and isolators for GSM, PCS and UMTS 3G base station, RF software defined radio, JTRS Cluster 5, UMTS, 4G, LTE, WiMAX

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING JOBS: solid modeling, high precision assemblies, large machined structural weldments, geometric tolerancing, feature control, FEA, FMECA, AutoCAD, Catia, Unigraphics, Pro/E, static and fatigue structural analyses, finite element, hybrid assembly processes, space systems design, fabrication, electronic packaging, sensors, pneumatics, non-destructive testing, mechanics, plastics, hydraulics, piping, sheet metal structures, material finishes, fabricated metal components and mechanisms, rapid prototyping, defense, SolidWorks, ProEngineer, root cause analysis, ceramics, automated machines, fixtures, jigs, tooling, passive RF assemblies, electromechanical devices, mechanisms, thermal systems, fluid dynamics, metal fabrication design, Mentor Graphics, PADS, CATIA V5, SDRC IDEAS, high density rigid-flex PWBs, Inventor, MasterCam, fluid power, structural design, weldments, heat treating, shafts, enclosure design, plastic parts design, injection molding, communications, combat systems, battlefield digitization, electro-optics, power conversion, digital imaging, flight safety, hydraulic and temperature measuring devices, avionics, HVAC design, heat load analysis, psychrometrics, valves, pumps, piping, heat exchangers, pneumatic envelopes, castings, FMEAs and design reviews, product engineering, high volume production, rapid prototyping, polymers, elastomers, ANSYS, electromechanical interfaces, sheetmetal design, mechanisums, solenoids, actuators, small motor driven devices, rigid and soft plastic material molded parts, machined parts, adhesive systems, cyanoacrylates, epoxies, fabricated metal components, tooling and fixtures, turbines, turbomachinery, renewable energy, green energy, solar energy, wind energy, AP RP560, P&ID development, prototype chassis subassemblies, high volume manufacturing, aluminum die cast parts, high volume consumer products, motherboards, hard drives/DVD and chassis, consumer electronics packaging, high volume manufacturing materials, Mechanical Desktop, acoustic fatigue, Lean Engineering (model based definition, determinant assembly), Unigraphics V16, embedded controls, Matlab/Simulink/Real-time Workshop, dSPACE, xPCtarget, dynamics modeling, Mechatronics, CFD, I-deas, solids modeling, design for six sigma, plastics forming, molding, stampings, fastening, ISO-9001/ISO-9000, Pro/E, Pro-Intralink, Unigraphics 2-D and 3-D, CATIA, IGES, DXF, DWG, STL, Green Belt certification, xPCtarget, system dynamics modeling, kinematics, thermodynamics

SYSTEM ENGINEERING & PROGRAM MANAGEMENT JOBS: space based IR systems, digital video, MPEG4, Digital and Demand services, systems modeling and analysis, statistics/error modeling, tactical communications, internetworking, pharmaceutical, IQ, OQ, PQ and PV validation protocols, Regulatory Affairs, digital systems architecture, Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3), survivability, GUI application development and DLL creation, exploitation algorithms, commissioning, COMINT, PROFORMA, FISINT broadband, SCADA, control systems integration, hyper spectral radiometry, multi or hyperultraspecial image processing and analysis, remote sensing systems, intelligence, mission management, risk mitigation plans, radar AMTI/GMTI/SAR image formation, electronic warfare including SIGINT, ELINT, design trades/analysis, flowing down system requirements, configuration management of hardware/software, distributed processing, data warehousing, task analysis/definition and resource allocation, system vulnerabilities, mission management, configuration/data management (CM/DM), algorithms, CAIV, simulation and modeling tools, ASIC and advanced packaging

NETWORK ENGINEERING JOBS: Netware 5.1 & 6, NT 4 & Windows 2000 Servers, TCP/IP, wireless, 802.11g, 802.11a/b, Xyplex, SIMPACT, HDLC, UDP, SNMP, WAN, encrypted, encryption, security, ethernet, sockets, giga ethernet, T1, T3, Firewall, Router, DSLAM, ATM, MPLS, Frame Relay, SONET, TDM, IP, ATM, Cisco, Promina, operational and performance requirements, OPNET or NS2, HTTP, IPX/SPX, 3G, UMTS, WAP, VoIP, GSM, UMTS, GPRS, TDMA, 802.11b

QUALITY ASSURANCE ENGINEERING JOBS: Black-box and white-box testing, QA Manager, Silk, SQA Robot, Winrunner, Test Director, QA Partner, Rational Visual Test, SQA Test Log Viewer, SQA Comparators, black belt, Six Sigma, ISO9001

CLEARANCES: Secret, Top Secret, Top Secret SCI, Top Secret EBI, Top Secret Poly, TS/EBI, TS/SBI, TS/SCI, SCI accesses, ISSA Lifestyle Poly, Top Secret SSBI, Top Secret CISP, Top Secret SAP, TS/SSBI, Top secret SCI full scope polygraph, DOE L, DOE Q, IRS-MBI, NATO Secret, DOJ NACI

DEGREES: BSEE, BS Electrical Engineering, B.S.E.E., MSEE, MS Electrical Engineering, M.S.E.E., PhD, Ph.D., D.Sc.,BS Computer Science, BSCS, B.S.C.S., BS Computer Engineering, BSCE, BS Mechanical Engineering, BSME, B.S.M.E., BS Physics, BS Math, MBA, M.B.A., BS Aeronautical Engineering, BS Materials, BS Biomedical, MSEE, MSCS, MS Mechanical Engineering